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Coronavirus

UK Holds 1st Festival Since Pandemic Start

LONDON — Thousands of heavy metal fans are camping, singing — and even moshing — in the rain at Britain’s first full music festival since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-day Download Festival, taking place at Donington Park in central England, is one of a series of test events to see whether mass gatherings can resume without triggering outbreaks of COVID-19.

About 10,000 fans, a tenth of the festival’s pre-pandemic attendance, have tickets to watch more than 40 bands including Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Bullet for My Valentine.

Attendees all took COVID-19 tests before the event, and don’t have to wear masks or follow social distancing rules during the festival.

Promoter Andy Copping said there was a “real sense of euphoria” at the event, which runs through Sunday, despite the wet weather. He said “it wouldn’t be Download unless there was a bit of rain.”

Britain has recorded almost 128,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe. The government has delayed the planned lifting of remaining social and economic restrictions until July 19 amid a rise in cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

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